My husband and I have been married for almost 4 months now. He is an injured Iraq war veteran and I am his caregiver. We do water therapy as well as light lifting at our local gym to help him get stronger and keep the pain levels down. We went into the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium to switch our individual memberships into a family membership since we legally married in Washington D.C.
I proceeded to tell the woman behind the desk that we needed to change or memberships to a family membership so I can be recognized as his spouse and receive the benefits of spouse discounts as well as his military discount. The woman then proceeded to tell my husband and I that our marriage was not considered "real" and she could not update the systems to reflect us as married. When I began to ask why she informed me that the Natatorium has rules which state that they follow Ohio regulations and until the State of Ohio recognizes gay marriage then my marriage license means nothing.
Baffled by the situation we came home and attempted to call the mayor's office of the City of Cuyahoga Falls and was told that at this time he was not able to take calls on "those" issues and that if we would like to leave a name and number he could return a phone call at some point. Still disgusted with the whole situation we then proceeded to call the Natatorium itself and speak to a manager or supervisor. After being hung up on four times we were able to reach a supervisor. We explained the situation to her and stated that we felt like we were being treated as a second class citizens. We also told her that my husband fought for our country and has been severely injured in the war.
She proceeded to tell us that we are more than welcome at the gym and just because we are gay does not mean we cannot come there, we just cannot have a membership as a married couple. Unhappy about the whole situation we told her that if they were unwilling to recognize us like they do every other married couple then we would like to cancel our memberships and find a gym who recognizes our family. She then told us that she would be more than happy to help us with cancelling our membership. All we needed to do was write a letter and mail it to the City of Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium stating what our issues were and that it would be reviewed. We would then have two options. Pay cancellation fees for both of our memberships or be upgraded to a monthly price which is $45.00 each and then pay whatever the remainder of our term was on each membership.
I am asking you to sign this petition to show the City of Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium that equality should be given to every citizen and that their rules and regulations need to be changed to allow all couples -- regardless of sexual orientation -- to register as a family.
A family comes in all shapes and sizes and the Natatorium, Parks and Recreations, and City Council should not be allowed to discriminate against our family. We ask that you change your current policy regarding who is considered a spouse/family to accept all families regardless of sexual orientation.
Allow Gay Couples to Register as Families:
I was deeply disappointed when when I read Shane's story about how the City of Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium treated him and his husband.
It is sad that an Iraq War veteran who is simply trying to recover from the injuries he received from war, faced discrimination from his community gym.
There is no reason the Natatorium could not give all couples the opportunity to receive a family membership. Whether the couple has a Domestic Partnership from a neighboring town, was legally married in Ohio or another state or country, or has a civil union, there is no reason the Natatorium could not recognize the wide variety of families that live in the Cuyahoga Falls community.
Please treat all couples fairly regardless of their gender. Please change your policy so heroes like Shane May's husband can be treated with the dignity and respect they diserve. After all, people like Shane's husband fought for your and my freedoms. The least we could do, is give him some freedom at his local gym.